With Emma, Ray and their colleagues completing their target of escaping from Grace Field House, Season 1 of The Promised Neverland ended.
The Season 2 premiere not only presents a new target and setting, but also a different tone and genre focus, with the story arc ended.
The Promised Neverland manga has reinvented itself on a regular basis, and the anime inevitably follows suit.
This approach was not without controversy, but the anime adaptation seems to be handling it very well, at least for now.
First and foremost, the Grace Field House story arc was a psychological drama, where the kids had to outmatch the cunning Mama Isabella in order not to be shipped off to become demon food.
Their main battle, now that they’ve made it out, is to live in the wild.
In order to solve mysteries, particularly with regard to finding the elusive William Minerva, they still need to use their wits, but the Season 2 premiere is less of a dark comedy and more of a mix of survival horror and whimsical fantasy.
The cold opening of the show, where Emma encourages her friends to treat running away from a giant monster as a “game of tag,” shows the new kinds of risks they face and sets the stage for the horror brand of the new season.
It’s no longer the growing anxiety of thinking that at a set date you’re destined to be eaten, but rather the immediate terror of worrying that at any random second you could be eaten.
Currently, this chase happens chronologically halfway through the episode; the episode quickly flashes back.
Kids are able to discover their new surroundings more safely before they run for their lives.
The forest has an atmosphere with its glowing lights and wildlife that looks like sea creatures reimagined for land and air.
The children can handle simple survival tasks such as finding water, and a map is provided to them by Ray’s decoding of William Minerva’s pen.
However, all this development becomes challenged as demons come after them.
Perhaps at the end of the episode comes the most representative instance of how this premiere combines the magical and the awful.
Emma and Ray each find themselves saved by enigmatic hooded figures as they are pursued by demons. The savior of Emma seems humanoid, but she definitely has something mystical about her, while Ray’s strokes on what looks like a horse.
The cliffhanger of the episode reveals that these two new characters are demons themselves! But are these demons to be afraid of, or may they possibly help? Without going into manga spoilers, the fact that a possibility could occur speaks to the world that the show has created.